SURFACE SATIN - STITCH (not the same on both sides), though it looks very much like ordinary satin-stitch, is worked in another way. The needle, that is to say, after each stitch is brought immediately up again, and the floss is carried back on the upper instead of the under side of the stuff. Considerable economy of silk is effected by thus keeping the threads as much as possible on the surface, but the effect is apt to be proportionately poorer. Moreover, the work is not so lasting as when it is solid. The satin-stitch in Illustration 58 (Couched Gold Not Quite Solid) is all surface work. It looks loose, which it is always apt to do unless it is kept stretched on the frame, on which satin-stitch is for the most part worked. Very effective Indian work is done of this kind - loose and flimsy, but serving a distinct artistic purpose. It is to embroidery of more precious kind what scene painting is to serious mural decoration.
Embroidery is often described as being in "long-and-short-stitch," a term properly descriptive not of a stitch, but of its dimensions. Whether you
use stitches of equal or of unequal length is a question merely of the adaptation of the stitch to its use in any given instance; there is nothing gained by calling an arrangement of alternating stitches, "long and short," or by calling them "plumage-stitch," or, which is more misleading, "feather-stitch," when they radiate so as to follow the form, say, of a bird's breast. The bodies of the birds in Illustrations 40 and 85 are in plumage-stitch so called. This adaptation of stitch to bird or other forms gives the effect of fine feathering perfectly. But there is no good reason for applying the term " satin-stitch " exclusively to parallel lines of stitches all of a length.
" Long - and - short - stitch," then, is a sort of satin-stitch ; only, instead of the stitches being all of equal length, they are worked one into the others or between them, as in the faces in Illustrations 79 and 80.
A little further removed from satin-stitch is what is known as " split-stitch," in which the needle is brought up through the foregoing stitch, and splits it. The way of working this stitch is more fully described on page 105.
The worker adapts, as a matter of course, the length of the stitch to the work to be done, directing it also according to the form to be expressed, and so arrives, almost before he is aware of it, by way of satin-stitch, at what is called plumage-stitch.
The distinction between the stitches so far described is plain enough, and an all-round em-broidress learns to work them ; but workers end in working their own way, modifying the stitch according to the work it is put to do, and constantly arrive at results it would be difficult to describe and pedantic to find fault with. Even short, however, of such individual treatment, the mere adaptation of the stitch to the lines of the design removes it from the normal. It makes a difference, too, whether it is worked in a frame or in the hand : in the one case you see more likeness to one stitch, in the other to another. The flower at B, for example, and the leaf at D on the sampler, Illustration 41 (Offshoots From Satin And Crewel Stitches), are both worked in what is commonly called "plumage," or "embroidery" stitch, though the term "dovetail," sometimes employed, is used with quite as much, if not more, reason. Instance B, however, is worked in the hand, and D in a frame - from which very fact it follows that the worker is naturally disposed
The Working Of B On Sampler 41
to regard B as akin to crewel-stitch and D to satin-stitch, between which two stitches "dovetail," or whatever it is to be called, may be regarded as the connecting link.
The petals at B are worked in the method illustrated in the diagram on page 103. The first step is to edge the shape with satin-stitches in threes, successively long, shorter, and quite short. This done, starting at the base again, you put your needle in on the upper or right side of the first short stitch, and bring it out through the long stitch (as shown in the diagram). You then make a short stitch by putting your needle downwards through the material, and taking up a small piece of it. You have finally only to draw the needle through, and it is in position to make another long stitch. As the concentric rings of stitching become smaller, you make, of course, shorter stitches, and you need no longer pierce the thread of the long stitch.
The working of the scroll at D on the sampler, Illustration 41 (Offshoots From Satin And Crewel Stitches), needs no detailed explanation. Any one who is acquainted with the way satin-stitch is worked (it has already been sufficiently explained), and has read the above account of the working of B, will understand at once how that is worked in the frame.
It will be seen that there is a slight difference in effect between framework and work done in the hand, arising from the fact that the one is necessarily
To Work B
To Work D
more loosely and not quite so evenly clone as the other.
Split-stitch (C on the sampler), again, resembles either crewel-stitch or satin-stitch, according as it is worked in the hand or on a frame. In working in the hand, you take a rather shorter stitch back than in crewel-stitch, piercing with the needle the thread which is to form the next stitch. In working on a frame, you bring your needle always up through the last made satin-stitch in order to start the next. Whichever way it is done, split-stitch is often difficult to distinguish without minute examination from chain-stitch. It may be interesting to compare it with crewel-stitch (A on the sampler), which is also a favourite stitch for shading. Further reference to its use is made in the chapter on shading (page 188).
To Work Split-Stitch